It’s one of the buzzwords of the decade and constantly discussed. Embraced by millennials, pronounced by many economists as the ‘new way’ of sharing resources, and seen by political scientists radicals as a true ‘disrupter’ in the market, in 2015 it finally received its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.
What is it? Why the sharing economy of course. But what does this term actually mean? Many things to many people I suspect — in fact, it would be no surprise to me if I stopped 100 people in the street to give me an example of the term, and 90 of them would reply “Uber.” But the sharing economy is about far more than being able to order a cheap cab, have your parcels shipped ‘same day’ by Amazon or rent a room on Airbnb. Put in its most simple terms, it’s about using under-utilized resources usefully and efficiently, sometimes for free and other times for a fee paid directly by the individual. It’s also about using technology to swap/barter/lend services in a whole new way — a way that simply didn’t exist before the era of the internet arrived.
Now, for sure, the sharing economy can’t be explained in a few sentences, or a “4 minute read” here but the ideas behind it are so important (and so powerful) that I think it’s worth taking a look at some of the concepts behind it, all of which are key to understanding this very big idea. Continue reading “A Quick Introduction to the Sharing Economy”